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New Zealand Favorites in First T20 Against West Indies

New Zealand is back to full strength for their three match T20 series against the West Indies.

Having completed an 11-0 sweep of their white-ball games against European minnows Ireland, Scotland and the Netherlands, the Black Caps are well and truly ramping up their T20 World Cup preparations.

Several senior players have been called back into the squad, and New Zealand will boast their best XI for the first time in months against World No.7 West Indies.

It’s no surprise then that New Zealand are leading in the odds for the first T20 against the West Indies tomorrow.
Here’s a look at how the series is shaping up.

Senior Players Return for New Zealand

New Zealand’s tour of Ireland, Scotland and the Netherlands was never really going to give an indication of the Black Caps’ form heading into October’s T20 World Cup.

These matches were all about blooding new players, and developing squad depth.

With players like Finn Allen, Blair Tickner and Michael Bracewell all impressing, the Black Caps are now well placed to welcome back half a dozen of their senior players to the squad.

Captain Kane Williamson returns, as well as Trent Boult, Devon Conway and Tim Southee, all of whom had a spell in New Zealand following the final Test against England in June. Tom Latham and Matt Henry also re-join the team, having parted ways following the Ireland series.

Here’s what the full 15-man squad looks like, heading into the T20 series against the West Indies:

Martin Guptill, Finn Allen, Devon Conway, Kane Williamson (c), Tom Latham, Glenn Phillips, Daryl Mitchell, Michael Bracewell,

Jimmy Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Lockie Ferguson, Tim Southee, Matt Henry, Trent Boult and Ish Sodhi.

New Zealand Ahead in the Odds for First T20

Despite their close quarters on the world rankings, 5th vs 7th, New Zealand are solid favorites in the first T20 happening on Wednesday.

Bookmakers put the Black Caps at -163, compared to the West Indies +130.

New Zealand’s recent 11-0 winning streak in the short format of the game, combined with the return of key T20 players such as Kane Williamson, Trent Boult, Tim Southee and Devon Conway will be what sways the bookmakers in New Zealand’s favor.

This, plus the fact that the West Indies have lost 10 of their last 11 limited over matches, including three T20s to India in the past week, means the Black Caps are looking likely to extend their streak.

Kane Williamson is picked to be New Zealand’s third-best batter tomorrow, alongside Devon Conway, with odds of +400. Martin Guptill leads on +260, coming off the back of some spectacular form in the Black Caps’ European tour, while Finn Allen is close behind on +333.

Meanwhile returnees Trent Boult and Tim Southee are odds on to be New Zealand’s best performers on the bowling front, with odds of +300 and +375 respectively. Lockie Ferguson also ranks highly, joining Trent Boult in odds of +300 to be New Zealand’s best bowler.

For the West Indies, they will be counting on Sharmarh Brooks and Nicholas Pooran to carry their batting. Both share the odds to be the West Indies best batters, at +333. Bookies have Obed McCoy leading the odds as West Indies best bowler, with odds of +300.

With the T20 World Cup just around the corner, this series will be crucial for each side to gain confidence and decide on their best XI before the tournament’s commencement in October.

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